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Sound advice when battling dust mites

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases offers the following advice for dealing with dust mites.

Empty and clean all closets. If possible, store contents elsewhere and seal closets.

Keep clothing in zippered, plastic bags and shoes in boxes off floor if they can not be stored elsewhere. Remove carpeting, if possible.

Clean and scrub woodwork and floors thoroughly to remove all traces of dust. Wipe wood, tile or linoleum floors with water, wax or oil.

Close doors and windows until dust-sensitive person is ready to use room.

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Wear a filter mask when cleaning room thoroughly once a week.

Clean floors, furniture, tops of doors, window frames and sills with damp cloth or oil mop. Carefully vacuum carpet and upholstery regularly.

Use a special filter in vacuum. Air room thoroughly.

Wash curtains often at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have carpets, treat with tannic acid to eliminate some dust-mite allergen. Experts recommend hardwood, tile or linoleum.

Encase box springs and mattress in zippered, allergen-proof cover.

Use only washable materials on bed.

Sheets, blankets and other bedclothes should be washed frequently in water at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep pets out of bedroom.

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If your water is set cooler (which is often done to prevent children from scalding themselves), use a laundromat with high wash temperatures.

Use synthetic, like Dracon, mattress pad and pillow.

Avoid upholstered furniture and blinds. Use only washable wood or metal chairs.

Air filters on furnace can reduce allergens.

Electrostatic or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) filters remove allergens. But if they don't work right, electrostatic filters can give off harmful ozone.

A dehumidifier might reduce dust mites, but dry air can irritate nose and lungs. Clean unit often with weak bleach solution; one cup bleach to a gallon water.

Keep toys that accumulate dust out of child's bedroom.

Avoid stuffed toys.

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Use only washable toys of wood, rubber, metal and plastic.

Store toys in closed toy box or chest.

-- The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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